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Health

Blue Light and Your Sleep

Electronic devices are an integral part of our lives. On average, Canadians spend 6 hours and 43 minutes in front of a digital screen every day. We hear more and more about the blue light emitted by these screens and its consequences on our eyes. Did you know that it can also affect your sleep?

In what ways are we exposed to blue light?
The main sources of blue light are the sun and digital screens. Television screens emit blue light, but smartphones and tablets have more harmful effects on our eyes because we look at them very close to our faces. The wavelength of blue light emitted by electronic devices is similar to that of the sun and can definitely be harmful to our eyes. Another important fact is that, children's eyes are more sensitive to blue light than that of adults because the light reaches their retina more easily.

The effects of blue light on sleep
Blue light first increases visual fatigue (eyestrain). As the waves disperse further into your eyes while you are looking at a screen, it becomes more difficult to focus. Exposure to this kind of light also affects sleep. Using devices that emit blue light before we go to sleep causes our circadian rhythm to change a little bit. This affects our sleep and wake cycles, which are influenced by light and darkness over a 24-hour period. Overexposure to blue light before sleep is one of the reasons why people lack sleep. It prevents the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles. It becomes more difficult to fall asleep after spending time in front of a screen because the brain is in ‘’broad daylight’’ mode. Do you usually check your phone before sleeping? The effects of blue light are even greater with devices that are closely watched, such as tablets or smartphones. They are more harmful to your eyes than a regular television screen. Of course, disturbed sleep can have many health implications. Lack of sleep can increase the risk of cancer and heart disease, among others.

How to reduce the effects of blue light on your sleep?
The best way to protect yourself from blue light is to avoid using electronic devices two hours before you go to bed. Choose activities that are relaxing, such as reading. Lowering the brightness of the screens and lighting the room in which you are, can also help reduce the harmful effects of blue light.

If you usually use your phone, tablet or computer in the evening, make sure that you wear blue light filtering glasses to reduce the effect on your sleep. If you wear prescription glasses, get lenses with a blue filter coating such as SeeCoat Blue Premium. Your vision is perfect? Non-prescription options are also available to you, such as TrueBlue glasses. They reduce the transmission of blue light waves, thanks to an integrated lens filter. They both protect the eyes and are more comfortable in front of a screen by reducing eyestrain and headaches.

Another tip is to use warm rather than cool lighting in the bedroom. Cool lighting tends to emit more blue light. Exposing yourself to daylight also helps the brain stay alert during the day, and sleep better in the evening.

The best way to keep your eyes healthy is to regularly consult your Optometrist. You eye care professional will give you personalized advice according to your IRIS Profile, to minimize the harmful effects of blue light on your sleep and eye health.

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